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Parsley: The Overlooked Green

Parsley: The Overlooked Green

For as long as I could remember, parsley was that marginalized herb that got brushed to the side of the plate, or subsumed into a warren of abandoned french fry bits. I have childhood memories of playfully chomping on bits of curly parsley while pretending I was a dinosaur mercilessly devouring a tree, but besides that, I held not much enthusiasm for parsley.

Over the past few years I have become aware that parsley has far more virtues than a bit of green to dress up a diner plate. Parsley is enormously rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, and has natural anti-inflammatory properties to keep arthritis at bay. The wealth of vitamin C in parsley (seemingly with the highest concentration of the stuff in a green vegetable) makes it a great immune booster, and a healthy amount of vitamin A also helps your fight toward restoring, and maintaining, health.

But, you may inquire, besides eating that bit of parsley alongside my plate of burger and fries, how should I integrate parsley into my diet? If you have ever chewed upon a sprig of fresh parsley, you know subtle it is not. So moving parsley into your diet without overwhelming everything you eat can be a minor challenge, but one worth taking.

Parsley goes extremely well with egg dishes, soups, as well as fish. I throw in about two tablespoons of parsley into my hummus to give it some chlorophyll, and even throw a bit (raw) into a salad to give it more bite. Many people swear by parsley tea, not as much for the flavor, as for the curative effects it has. Adherents say it treats everything from weight loss to gall stones. But like all good things, moderation is key. Evidently too much parsley (especially in tea form) can have some side effects, so it is best to be judicious in your parsley enthusiasm.

What is your feeling about parsley? Love it, or hate it? Are their varieties you prefer (curly, Italian, French)? What are some of your favorite parsley-rich recipes?

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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8:25AM PST on Mar 1, 2015


4:13PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Love parsley, thanks.

5:44AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Parsley is brilliant - it makes an ordinary dish into a culinary delight!

7:20AM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

In 30

7:17AM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

% RDA in 30 (1/2 Cup) Parsley

vitamin K 553.9%

 vitamin C 53.9%

 vitamin A 14.2%

 folate 11.5%

 iron 10.4%

 copper 5.5%

 potassium 4.8%

 calcium 4.1%

 fiber 4%

 magnesium 3.8%

 zinc 3%

 phosphorus 2.5%

 vitamin B3 2.5%

 vitamin B1 2.5%

 manganese 2.5%

6:20AM PDT on Oct 8, 2013

Why overlooked? It's very popular in Poland!

5:50AM PDT on Oct 8, 2013

I always ate the parsley on my plate, even as a child. Now I add it to smoothies, juicing, soups, salads. It's great in spaghetti sauce, too.

10:17PM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

Love Parsley! Thank you for posting this!

9:42PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

I always eat the parsley on my plate.It's a natural breath freshener,like cardamom seeds. I was going to get married with a parsley bouquet but no one would help me arrange it. My favorite recipe is parsley potatoes. You fine chop parsley. Peel and boil potatoes.Drain when cooked.portion size,etc, is up to you.Put drained potatoes in an nice bowl with 1/2 a stick of butter some salt,and as much parsley as you want.(I want a lot.) Mix.We eat it with Wienerschnitzel.Sorry.Austrians are carnivores.

3:43AM PDT on Sep 21, 2013

I never overlook parsley - I eat some most days. Tabbouleh is one of my favourite ways to eat it, but I always add it to salads.

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